Two mobile satellite communications companies plan to launch competing billion-dollar satellites that might reinvigorate the market for satellite-linked mobile phones in 2009, according to the Associated Press.
TerraStar Corp. and SkyTerra Communications will launch a total of three of the largest commercial satellites in history into space this summer, their 60-foot gold mesh receptors aimed squarely at the U.S. The result: sat-link phones that won’t be much larger than traditional mobile phones, complete with 3G radios. When the phones are within range of cell towers, they connect with normal wireless technology; when they’re out of range, they contact the satellites for a connection.
For now, this generation of satellite phones will work only within a line of sight of their satellites–which is to say, only in North America. But should these two companies launch more satellites for worldwide coverage, their devices could see more mainstream adoption. What’s more likely: acquisition by a major telecom looking for the final trump card in coverage area.CD